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Amanda Taylor

From the Herald Tribune on Shonda Johnson-

Court: Walker County woman again facing death sentence
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS



MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A Walker County woman is again looking at the death penalty for having one of her husbands killed because he got her prosecuted for bigamy.

On Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed a ruling by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, which had overturned the capital murder conviction and death sentence of Shonda Nicole Johnson.

Johnson was convicted in 1999 of the shooting death of Randy McCullar in a church parking lot in rural Walker County on Nov. 30, 1997. The capital murder charge involved killing a person who had been a grand jury witness.

Testimony at the trial showed that Johnson was still married to McCullar when she married William Howard McIntyre Jr. in 1995 and when she married Tim Richards in 1997.

McCullar testified before a grand jury and got Johnson prosecuted for bigamy. He also filed for divorce and custody of their child three weeks before he was killed.

According to testimony, Johnson was so mad that she tried to get a former boyfriend she lived with between the McIntyre and Richards weddings to kill McCullar, but he wouldn't. Then she persuaded Richards to cut McCullar's tire while he was in a lounge. According to testimony, Richards and Johnson followed McCullar to a church parking lot, where Johnson gave Richards a loaded gun and got him to kill McCullar.

The appeals court overturned Johnson's conviction and death sentence in 2005 because it said the judge should have told jurors to limit how they considered the evidence about the bigamy charge and prior "adulterous acts."

The Supreme Court, in a 9-0 decision written by Republican Justice Mike Bolin, said there was no need for limiting instructions because the evidence "was properly admitted as substantive evidence of the offense with which Johnson was charged."

Johnson's case now goes back to a lower court for the reinstatement of her death sentence.

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